Red Dwarf: S02E04: Stasis Leak
This is one of the classic Red Dwarf Episodes. The story is very well constructed and the science is a little hoopy. I’ll try and enter as much character dialogue as possible.
Holly introduces the show: “On our journey back to Earth we’ve encountered many strange and bizarre things. only last month we came across a moon which was shaped exactly like Felicity Kendal’s bottom. We flew around that one a few times.”
The first scene is an excerpt from the past. Rimmer is in the Captains office with Lister. He reports that Lister smuggled aboard some hallucinogenic Mushrooms and gave some to Rimmer accidentally. This caused him to have a ‘voyage to trip-out city’. The captain, then dismisses them giving Lister a punishment of 2 weeks Paint Duty (PD). Rimmer objects. He respectfully points out to the Captain that the penalty for such a crime is 15 years imprisonment. The captain repeats his order to dismiss. Rimmer takes exception he says, “with respect Captain, you have your head up your great fat arse!”.
Later we see that Rimmer too has been given paint duty. “Eight smeggin weeks, why should I have gotten eight weeks when you only got two!”
“You shouldn’t have stuck your pencil up his nose!” Says Lister, “…. And ripped up and ate his wife’s photograph!”
He apologises to Rimmer as they enter their living quarters, he didn’t mean to give Rimmer the mushrooms. Lister leaves to get the space suits to begin their punishment when he here’s his own voice coming from the coffee table.
“I want you to stay absolutely calm, I’m coming out in a moment, and I want you to keep your cool.” The hologram head of Rimmer appears to pop up from the coffee table, “There, that wasn’t too bad was it? Look, we’ve found a stasis leak on floor sixteen. I’m dead now and you’re not. But if I save you, you won’t die so I won’t die. And you won’t be dead, and neither will I!” The hologram smiles that silly Rimmer smile. The live Rimmer looks into his drink.
Back in the future. Lister is reading Rimmer’s ‘personal, private diary’ to the Cat. Rimmer is, of course upset by this. Lister defends himself by telling Rimmer that he’s doing it for a reason. He shows Rimmer a photograph of Kochanski being married to Lister in a church. The picture shows Lister o the left and another (more handsome) geezer on the right of her. Lister found the picture in Kochanski’s quarters. Lister says that this is impossible unless the go back in time and he tells Rimmer that the section in his diary which talked about a head coming through the table probably wasn’t a mushroom induced hallucination, but Rimmer’s hologramic head travelling back in time.
He recalls the bit about finding a stasis leak on floor sixteen and just as Rimmer asks, “What’s a stasis leak?” Holly appears and asks, “Alright dudes, what’s going down in groove town then?” It always makes me laugh how Holly tries to be one of the lads. I can’t decide weather he’s getting ideas above his station or lowering himself to their level
Lister asks Holly what a stasis leak is, but Holly doesn’t know. Rimmer asks why not!? “He’s supposed to have an IQ of 6000. “6000’s not a lot,” replies Holly defending himself, “it’s only the same as 12,000 car park attendants!”
They all get in the lift to take them to floor sixteen. In this scene we get an idea of just how big Red Dwarf really is. The lift attendant is a rather smart looking lady who gives out instructions, rather like an airhostess on a plane,
“Welcome to express lifts decent to floor sixteen, we will be going down 2567 floors and for a small extra charge you can enjoy the in lift movie, gone with the wind. If you look to your right and your left, you will notice that there are no exits. In the highly unlikely event of the lift having to make a crash landing, death is certain (~smiles~). Under your seat you will find a cassette for recording your last will and testament; and a from above your head, bag will drop containing sedatives and cyanide capsules.”
Lister chews his fingernails, “I hate this stuff, it really freaks me out!”
The recording of the attendant continues, “To take the cyanide capsules, simply break open like so, and place under the tongue.” She demonstrates this and we see her fall over.
When they arrive, the lift thanks them for travelling with Xpress Lifts and apologises for the delay. Cat comments on the terrible food, “…it’s the first time I had food where the packaging tastes better!”
They find the stasis fields and walk through to find themselves in a shower room. Cat tries to work out what happened, “what is it?” he asks.
“It’s a rent in the space time continuum.” Replies Rimmer sounding rather intelligent for a change.
“What is it?” asks the cat, not understanding.
“A Stasis Room freezes time, you know, it makes time stand still. So whenever you have a leak, it must preserve whatever it’s leaked into, and it’s leaked into this room.” Says Lister, also surprisingly coherent.”
“What is it?” asks the Cat, still not understanding.
“It’s a singularity, a point in the universe where the normal laws of space and time don’t apply.” Explains Rimmer. He’s clearly having a good hair day!
“What is it?” asks the Cat, definitely having a problem understanding.
“It’s an opening into the past” adds Lister patiently.
“Oh a magic door, why didn’t you say!?” comprehends Cat.
They walk through and find that they’ve travelled back in time to three weeks before the crew got wiped out. Rimmer asks if it would be possible to bring anyone back. Lister picks up a bar of soap and they all walk through the stasis field back to their own time. The soap bar turns into powder. Cat asks Rimmer whom he was thinking of bringing back. “me” replies Rimmer. Cat looks at Lister, “Let’s do it!” he says.
Later, in their quarters, Lister and Rimmer argue who they want to bring back. Lister wonders how he can stay with Kochanski. They realise that there are two stasis chambers. It would be possible to bring another person back into the future. Lister decides that he will bring Kochanski back while Rimmer is convinced that he will bring the live version of himself back.
“There is only room for one and that’s Chrissy,” says Lister.
“Rimsey” contradicts Rimmer. They both point at each other and the race begins.
Lister and Cat prepare to go back through the stasis field. Lister takes Holly in a watch like gadget and Cat dresses inconspicuously in a ships cleaners uniform. They walk into the stasis leak on floor sixteen and straight into shower where some unsuspecting nude geezer washing himself. They make a quick exit and head for Kochanski’s quarters. It seems that she is still on planet leave.
Meanwhile Rimmer tries to contact himself (before he died) to persuade himself that he should go into stasis so as to miss the accident that killed him and join the living three million years later…. Erm if you see what I mean… wait, it gets worse… you should remember that at this point, Rimmer had just reported Lister for adding magic mushrooms to his breakfast and Rimmer (the live one) thinks he is still prone to hallucination.
The live Rimmer hears his own voice coming from a coffee table (again). “I want you to stay absolutely calm, I’m coming out in a moment, and I want you to keep your cool.” , The hologram head of Rimmer appears to pop up from the coffee table, “There, that wasn’t too bad was it? Look, we’ve found a stasis leak on floor sixteen. I’m dead now and you’re not. But if I save you, you won’t die so I won’t die. And you won’t be dead, and neither will I!”
The live Rimmer looks shocked but manages to respond with, “I might as well tell you right away that I know what you are…. You’re a mushroom aren’t you?”
“No, look. I’m you from the future, I’ve come to warn you that in three million years you’ll be dead!” says the hologram.
“Oh really….. Well, what do you suggest, eat less white bread, more roughage?” Says Rimmer (live one) a little more worried.
“You’re not listening, you’ve got to go into stasis….. I’ll be back soon.” The hologram concludes.
The living Rimmer takes a look in his drink and tells himself to “stay calm, it’s gone now”. Other members of the ships crew are getting ready for a fancy dress party, but Rimmer and Lister must begin their Paint Duty punishment. Just then, the Captain enters the room. He’s on his way to the party dressed as a chicken. “Rimmer,…..Listen I just want to apologise, I’ve been under a lot of pressure….. I shouldn’t have given you PD (Paint Duty)…..”
“So,” says Rimmer, “You’ve come back as a chicken!” Clearly he thinks he’s having one of his hallucinations. The captain explains how he simply got a little annoyed… “Did you really Captain Paxo” replies Rimmer….. “Half man half chicken…… Kindly cluck off before I extract your giblets and shove a large seasoned onion between the lips you never kiss with!” He knee’s the captain in the testicles.
The captain is understandably put-out by this and showing great restraint, he commutes the punishment of eight weeks to eight months and then eight years PD (Paint Duty). Rimmer is not too upset by this, he simply throws some paint over the captain.
Lister and Cat trace Kochanski to the Gannymede Holiday Inn. They enter the hotel reception and Lister wonders off to find which room she’s in. The Cat is accosted by a piece of motorised luggage. “Excuse me….na na, down here. Have you seen a man whose lost his luggage, about 5’10″, mousy hair?”
“No I haven’t!” says a startled Cat. “aghhh,” replies the luggage, “I’ll bet they sent him to the wrong bloody airport again” (another classic line, yet seldom quoted)
Lister finds Kochanski’s room and he and Cat go to see her. When they arrive at the room they find that she is already with someone! There is another pair of shoes outside the room waiting to be cleaned. Lister concludes that the other geezer in the photograph must be the one that married her and not Lister after all. He begins to whine about how women always leave him for wine-drinking smegheads. He rants on a little more until we here Holly’s voice, “Oi!, not in the pockets! Dear oh dear, there’s a big hole,” he says as Lister takes his hands out of his pockets (remember Holly is on a wrist watch.), “It’s an unbelievable view, it reminds me of that film, Attack of the killer gooseberries!”.
Lister tells Holly that he is a little ‘down’ at the moment and Holly tried to console him with a story about how he was once in love with a ZX81 personal computer. Apparently everyone said it was a bad idea telling him that she was stupid, cheap and wouldn’t load…. “What I’m trying to say Dave, is that it’s better to have loved and lost that to have listened to an album of Olivia Newton John.”
At this point Kochanski’s door opens and she walks out in a bathrobe. She spots Lister and Cat and asks them to come in. Lister refuses at first, but Cat, having never seen a woman with no undergarments on before, decides to take her up on the offer, Lister joins him.
Her husband is in the shower, she says that Lister would probably like him. Then the door opens and her husband walks out. It’s Lister 2 (the other Lister from 5 years into the future) sporting a beard, the same as in the photograph. They say hi to each other. Lister 1 isn’t happy. He came through the stasis leak expecting to get married to Kochanski. “but you are him.” She says. “No I’m not him, I’m me.” Says Lister 1. “well who’s he then?” She replies. “He’s him.” Says Lister 1 while Lister 2 chuckles away.
Cat interrupts while eating a chicken leg, “Well if he’s you and you’re him, and you’re him and he’s him, – am I still me….. what the hell is going on?” Thank goodness for cat, if it weren’t for him asking dumb questions, we’d never be able to understand the story-line.
Lister 2 explains, “In five years time, you find another way to come back in time.”
Lister 1 looks pleased, “So it does work out?”
Kochanski smiles, “Eventually.”
Lister 1 tries his luck, “So how about a frenchy (French kiss) from my future bride then?”
Lister 2 is having non of it, “No way, on your space bike!” He throws Lister1 and Lister 2 out of the room telling them that all they need to do is stay put for five years.
Rimmer (the live one) is wheeled into his quarters by a medic. He has just been to receive treatment for hallucinations. He sits quietly on his bed for a few moments before he is disturbed to hear the voice of his hologram, “I don’t want you to panic Arnold, but….” Then Lister comes in with Cat and to make things more complicated another Lister (and older looking one) appears with Kochanski and an older Rimmer. Sick Rimmer (the live one), shouts for them all to go away.
And there ends the best show to date. This was voted as one of the favourites of British TV viewers. And we’re still only in the middle of the second series!!
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This episode review is © 1999 – 2019 Tony Fawl.
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